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Posted 11.20.07

Scholarships Created for Students who are Military Veterans

Two Wesleyan alumni each have made substantial gifts to create need-based scholarships for former servicemen and women for four years of full-time baccalaureate study. These new gifts will fund as many as 10 scholarships at any given time.

One of the donors, Frank Sica '73, hopes he can enable young men and women who have performed a service for the U.S. to attend a premier liberal arts university.

"The government-provided college aid and pay scales for enlisted personnel are such that, unless these people received substantial aid, they could not pay the expenses associated with attending a place such as Wesleyan," Sica says. "Secondly, the armed forces consist of people from diverse social and ethnic backgrounds who have been working and training together for the duration of their service. My hope is that Wesleyan, because of its diversity, will enable them to be more comfortable than at other small liberal arts institutions."

The second donor, Jonathan Soros '92, says he wants to help reduce disconnect between policymakers and the military.

"For many at a liberal arts college, interacting with the men and women of the military is not part of their experience," he says. "I see a real educational opportunity in which veterans benefit from a liberal arts education, and the community benefits by learning from people of different backgrounds and confronting realities they wouldn't otherwise directly encounter. Servicemen and women demonstrate an admirable call to duty, and I think they can inspire all of us to public service."

Wesleyan admits students without regard to their financial circumstances and then provides a financial aid package that meets each student's full demonstrated need. Forty percent of its 2,900 students currently receive grant aid. The average grant is $27,151. Wesleyan currently budgets $35.4 million of its own resources annually for grant aid for undergraduates. Federal and state sources contribute an additional $2.7 million.

Wesleyan announced on Nov. 1 that it will eliminate loans for its neediest undergraduates and replace them with additional grants, beginning with first-year students in fall 2008. The policy is part of a new initiative to reduce overall student indebtedness by 35 percent in order to make Wesleyan even more accessible to students regardless of their financial capacity.

"At Wesleyan, we help exceptionally smart, imaginative students find their capacities for leadership in the world beyond the campus," says President Michael Roth. "We are particularly grateful to Frank Sica and Jonathan Soros for hearing the potential resonance of this educational ideal for students who have experienced military service and for understanding how such students can help strengthen campus discourse. We are proud to be taking this initiative to support those who have served our country at the same time we are taking strides to make Wesleyan more affordable for students from all backgrounds."
 
By David Pesci, director of Media Relations